As we head towards Holy Week, when we’ll reflect on the death of Christ and celebrate His victorious resurrection, we are reminded that hope is core to our faith. But imagine with me how confused the disciples must have felt after the triumphal entry when Jesus was betrayed by one of their own and then handed over to be tried and crucified. This was not how they had imagined things going in Christ’s kingdom. However, we have the benefit of knowing the end of the story – they did not.
Like the disciples, all of us have experienced disappointment and heartache. We have, at different times in our spiritual journeys, wrestled to keep hope alive. Yet, hope is central to our faith. In addition, hope is good for our spiritual, emotional, and physical health. According to research conducted by Harvard, those who maintain hope live longer and have less chance of chronic illness or cardiovascular disease.
What Exactly Is Hope?
Hope is a feeling of expectancy. However, the Bible takes it a bit further, defining hope as “Hope is an expectation with certainty that God will do what he has said.” This is what the Psalmist was getting at when he wrote, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more” (Psalm 71:14).
Hope combines confident expectation with faith. The writer of Hebrews says that faith is being sure of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1). It’s not that we wish that everything will turn out fine. It’s that we believe God is good, we trust Him to keep His promises, and therefore we have confident expectation that in the end, it’s going to be okay. We choose to believe that the God we worship loves us and has our best interests at heart. Though we walk through suffering, we know He will one day redeem all suffering as He has promised.
At times, we can’t make sense between God’s goodness and our suffering. We wonder, if God could step in and stop this, why doesn’t He? The simple answer to that is we don’t know. We won’t always understand God’s ways.
The question then becomes, how do we keep hope alive when chaos is all around us? How do some seem to have buoyant hope while others seem to vacillate between hope and despair? What’s the secret?
3 Secrets to a Hope-Filled Heart
Foster an Attitude of Praise. The people most filled with hope seem to foster an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. We see this in the Psalmist, David’s, life. He wrote in Psalm 25, “my hope is in you,” (verse 5) and, “Good and upright is the Lord” (verse 8). The bottom line is that an attitude of gratitude nurtures hope.
Cultivate a Continual Awareness of God’s Presence. The other thing I’ve observed is that those who cultivate a continual awareness of God’s presence seem to be filled with hope. The ancient monk Brother Lawrence taught us to practice the presence of God through the simple tasks of the day. Whether you’re driving to work, studying for an exam, washing dishes or clothes, or chasing a toddler, remind yourself that God is with you. One practical way to do this is to whisper a prayer throughout the day: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are with me.” David wrote, “My eyes are ever on the Lord” (verse 15). He was living with a continual awareness of God’s presence.
Nurture a Willingness to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit. Those who have the most hope are those who are always leaning into the Spirit of God. As we continually pray to be filled, He responds, and we see His fruit manifest in our lives. Love, joy, and peace are all evidence of hope.
This Holy Season, as you celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, seek to keep hope alive in your heart. Praise Him daily, cultivate a continual awareness of God’s presence, and ask to be filled with His Spirit.
Remember April 4th is the launch of Our Father. Hey friends, would you be willing to help me launch Our Father? If you pre-ordered a copy, would you post a picture of yourself with your copy on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn?
This week on The Connected Mom Podcast we’re chatting with Jillian Benfield about the gift of a special needs child. Be sure to join us for this amazing conversation!